Movies often deliver a very strong message. It’s that message, which appeals and allows us to connect with, and feel what’s portrayed in the story. It sparks an emotion within us which keeps us gripped till the end.
One such movie is “The Blind Side”. It’s been almost 12 years since its release, so today we explore the message that it delivers.
The story is based on John Lee Hancock’s “The Blind Side- Evolution of a Game” written in 2006. He has also directed the movie. This 2009 American biographical sports drama film turned out to be a huge commercial success, bagging a whopping $309 million against a budget of $29 million.
Michael “Big Mike” Oher, a 17-year-old spends his childhood in foster care with different families in Oslo, Tennessee because of his mother’s addiction to drugs. Every time he’s placed with a new family, he runs back to her. He had been sleeping on his father’s friend’s couch, who then asks Burt Cotton, the football coach of Wingate Christian School, to help enrol Mike and his son in the football team.
Coach Cotton is impressed by Mike’s size and athleticism and lets him in on the team despite his poor academic record. He is later befriended by a younger student Sean Tuohy, aka SJ. Sean’s mother, Leigh Anne, is a very strong-minded interior designer and her husband, Sean is a wealthy businessman. One day, Leigh and Sean were watching their daughter play volleyball, after which they noticed Michael picking up food that was leftover on the bleachers.
Leigh, one night, notices Michael walking alone on the road. He was shivering with cold as he lacked adequate clothing. She offers to let him spend the night at their residence when she discovers that he planned on spending the night huddled outside the closed school gymnasium. He leaves the next morning. Leigh invites him to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with them. She then drives him to his house only to find an eviction notice which meant that his mother was gone.
Michael slowly becomes a member of the Tuohy family. Leigh’s friends question this and say that Collins might not be safe in his presence. She admonishes them. She asks Collins about how she feels with this change to which she replies that they cannot just “throw him out”.
Leigh comes to know about Michael’s mother being a drug addict when she seeks to become his legal guardian. She learns that he was taken away from her when he was seven as no one was aware of her whereabouts. She finds out that although he scored poorly in his career aptitude test, but bagged 98% in protective instincts.
Michael was hesitant about using his strength and size while he was learning to play football. Leigh tells him, as an offensive lineman, he should protect his quarterback just like he protects his family. Michael, since then, improves drastically and was well enough to play at the college level. However, to do that, he had to meet the minimum GPA to get in so the Tuohys hired a private tutor for him, the outspoken and kind Miss Sue.
Leigh Anne speaks to Michael’s mother about adopting him. She seems unresponsive but finally wishes Michael the best. Michael is heavily recruited by many prestigious schools. Sean Jr. talks to the coaches and negotiates on both his and Michael’s behalf. Michael manages to get his grades high enough and decides to attend the University of Mississippi also known as “Ole Miss”.
But as Ole Miss was where Sean Sr. had played basketball, Leigh Anne had been a cheerleader, and Miss Sue had been a part as well, NCAA investigator Granger is appointed to look into the matter to determine if the Tuohys took him in and unduly influenced him to play for their alma mater. Michael quits the interview before it is over and confronts Leigh Anne about her motives for taking him in. He then finds his biological mother in Hurt Village.
He is welcomed back by a gang leader who offers him a beer and makes sexually offensive imputations about Leigh and Collins. Michael loses his temper and the gang leader threatens to go after them, and as a result, Michael fights with him and his gang. After thinking about what happened and questioning Leigh, Michael tells Granger he chose Ole Miss because “it’s where my family goes to school.” Michael is accepted into college and is dropped off at college by the Tuohy family.
The movie is a formulaic but uplifting family sports drama. It is based on the true story of football player Michael Oher. The focus is on the messages about inclusion, the benefits of hard work, and the importance of family. The movie depicts how poverty and racism create a mental prison, and how people need to be rescued from them.
It also shows that it is a righteous act to help people out of this imprisonment. The story creates an impact because it shows that in this world of conflicts between people belonging to different races, people from different colours and socioeconomic backgrounds can help and benefit from each other.
Edited by Anupama Roy